On this page we answer frequently asked questions about hardware and software, functions and features of our pick-by-light systems and services.

 

Frequently asked questions and answers

 

General / Function of Pick by Light / Terms

What is Pick-by-Light?

Pick-by-Light is a paperless picking process.

For this purpose, each storage location is equipped with an electronic shelf display. This shelf display has at least one eye-catching light, and usually also a quantity indicator and a confirmation button.

The picker is informed of the place of withdrawal via a light signal (the eye-catching light of a shelf display). A quantity indicator next to the eye-catching light informs him about the number of articles to be removed. The withdrawal is confirmed via a confirmation button and the process is thus posted to the principal system.

What is Put-to-Light?

Put-to-Light is also a paperless picking process. Instead of a withdrawal (as with pick-by-light), however, putting into storage takes place. Put-to-Light therefore supports the sorting of articles.

A Pick-by-Light system can be used for both a picking process and a putting process. The hardware is identical, only the process is different.

In a Pick-by-Light system, both are often used in parallel:

  • The Pick-by-Light procedure for the withdrawal of items from the storage location
  • The Put-to-Light procedure for returning items to the storage location, e.g. returns.

To differentiate the processes for the operator, different colours of the eye-catching light are usually used for the Pick-by-Light and Put-to-Light processes.

Where can Pick-by-Light be used?

Pick-by-Light is a universally usable tool for the fast and reliable order picking of articles of all kinds such as:

  • Order picking of mail order items in an online shop. The order is reported directly to the warehouse, where employees can immediately gather and ship the items using pick by light.
  • Provision of parts sets for an assembly line: The articles required for a finished part (e.g. a car) are put together in the precise quantity by pick by light and delivered to the assembly line as a set just-in-time.
  • Worker guidance at an assembly workstation: The pick by light system displays the required articles one after the other and guides the worker step-by-step through the assembly process.

These are just three examples that illustrate the many possibilities of order picking using pick by light.

What is multi-order picking?

Multi-order picking is a special form of picking in which several orders are picked at the same time.

One example is multi-order picking with a picking vehicle, e.g. a picking cart with several storage shelves. Each storage shelf is assigned to a picking order, such as a customer order or a production job. In this way, the employee can process several orders simultaneously on a single trip along the storage locations, thus saving a lot of walking distance and time.

What are the advantages of a pick by light system?

Of course, this depends on what you compare it to.

In general, it can be said that order picking by means of pick by light enables a very fast way of working and is also extremely easy to learn:

  • The employee recognises all articles of the order to be picked “at a glance” on the basis of the active eye-catching lamp. All time spent searching for the right article is eliminated.
  • On the basis of the active eye-catching lamp, the employee can choose his own approach and thus works much more efficiently.
  • The employee does not need any other devices or aids such as pick lists, MDA, barcode scanners or the like and can thus concentrate fully on his work.
  • Via the associated confirmation button, a pick is reported back to the principal system in real time, thus eliminating all administrative activities.
  • As a rule, the training time for a new employee is limited to a few minutes. As an operating company, you are thus more flexible in the planning and assignment of your employees.
  • Pick-by-Light is particularly suitable for employees with language barriers or other restrictions.

What are the restrictions?

As with everything, there are also restrictions to be observed with pick-by-light.

The pick-by-light procedure requires that the employee can see an active eye-catching light. He cannot see an active eye-catching light in the far corner of a shelf warehouse without having to walk through the entire warehouse. Therefore, picking zones of a pick-by-light system are usually divided into a few metres of shelf space, which are permanently worked by one employee. Of course, this requires a correspondingly high storage and retrieval frequency (access frequency).

Accordingly, a pick-by-light system is unsuitable, for example, in a spare parts warehouse with several thousand articles and an access frequency of a few picks/month per article and also far too expensive. In such a use case, multi-order picking by means of a picking cart with Put-to-Light on the cart would be a sensible alternative.

When using the eye-catching light in different colours for different processes, possible colour blindness of the employees must be taken into account.

Can I perform inventory operations with a pick-by-light system?

Inventory operations are one of the most widely used auxiliary functions of pick-by-light systems.

The impetus for an inventory process comes from the principal system. The latter transmits an inventory request to the PbL system and delivers the target stock level of articles in a storage container/storage location.

The PbL system switches on the eye-catching lamp of the corresponding shelf display (ideally in a different colour to the normal picking process) and displays the target quantity.

After checking the actual quantity, the employee has two options:

  • If target quantity = actual quantity, he confirms the inventory process directly with the confirmation button
  • If target quantity <> actual quantity, he corrects the value displayed on the shelf display using the plus and minus buttons on the shelf display and confirms the corrected value with the confirmation button

Notes:

  • The basic condition is, of course, that the principal system knows the stock levels at the individual storage locations. A second inventory management in the pick-by-light system (in addition to the WMS or ERP system) should be avoided.
  • Ideally, the inventory is carried out at a time when the target stock level is as small as possible in order to optimise the counting time at the storage location. However, this algorithm must be created in the principal system. Based on this, this process can be created as a so-called random inventory, rolling all year round across all storage locations.
  • Regardless of each inventory operation, an employee can report a missing article to the principal system at any time (even during an ongoing order picking process) (again via the correction buttons).

Components of a Pick-by-Light system

What does a Pick-by-Light system consist of?

A pick-by-light system basically consists of hardware and software components.

Hardware components of a Pick-by-Light system

  • The shelf displays in various versions, e.g. with or without quantity indicator, or as alphanumeric shelf displays.
  • The controllers, which on the one hand contain the power supply for the shelf displays, and on the other represent the interface between the shelf displays and the control computer. The shelf displays are connected to the controller is made by means of a four-core cable (+24 V, GND, data line, functional earth). The controller can be connected to the control computer via RS485 or Ethernet.
  • The shelf displays are mounted using the PTF base profile, an aluminium profile that is riveted or screwed to on-site mounting surfaces (e.g. shelves).
    • The so-called PTF contact profile is clipped into this base profile, which supplies the shelf displays with power and data.
    • Each rail is equipped with a PTF terminal block, either on the right or on the left.
    • The connection between individual profile rails is made by means of cables that are connected to the PTF terminal blocks. The wiring can be in series or star-form.
  • To control the pick-by-light system, a computer or VM is required, which can either be supplied by KBS or provided by the customer.
  • Possible other components of a pick-by-light system are scanners, zone displays, scales, label printers, etc.

Software components of a Pick-by-Light system

  • KBS offers the standard software module WinKomm-Basis for the administration and control of the individual components such as shelf displays and controllers. In simplified terms, this can also be referred to as a Device Manager. A licence for this software is required for each control computer/pick-by-light system.
  • Customer-specific application software is required as an interface to the customer’s ERP or WMS system. On the one hand, this controls the processes during order picking and on the other it coordinates the data exchange with the customer’s host system.
    • An application software can basically be created by the customer, by third-party providers or by KBS Industrieelektronik. In the latter case, KBS would provide a “turnkey” system.
    • Depending on the requirements for the picking processes and the interface to the host system, this software component can account for a considerable part of the total costs of a pick-by-light system.

 

What is PickTerm Flexible or PTF?

PickTerm Flexible, or PTF for short, is the product name of the current pick-by-light system from KBS Industrieelektronik GmbH.

Which is the best shelf display?

This question can only be answered in general as follows: The best shelf display is the one that optimally meets the requirements of your processes.

The most widely used shelf display is our type PTF-3N. This has an eye-catching light (7-colour), a three-digit quantity indicator, two quantity correction keys, a freely assignable function key and the confirmation button. The requirements of most picking processes can be mapped extremely well with this type.

In addition, there is a whole range of other shelf display types:

  • Shelf displays without quantity indicator, e.g. for sorting processes
  • Shelf displays with numerical quantity display up to 6 digits
  • Shelf displays with alphanumeric display for displaying texts
  • Shelf displays with graphic display that enable multi-line texts in different fonts and sizes
  • Shelf displays with touchscreen, via which scroll-down menus and softkeys can be implemented

In addition, there are additional options for each type of shelf display, such as external inputs, light spots for the storage location, confirmation sensors and much more.

Find out more on our pages or contact our experts.

What is a controller?

A controller (our short form for the interface unit) is the intelligent interface between the individual shelf displays and the computer that controls the system. It converts the signals coming from the computer via Ethernet to the proprietary PTF bus, to which the shelf displays are connected, and of course their signals back to the computer. It usually also includes a power supply for the shelf displays. In addition, it continuously and independently checks whether all connected shelf displays are available and working correctly. It immediately reports possible errors to the controlling computer.

Interfaces / Software / Control

Does KBS have standard software for Pick-by-Light?

The Device Manager software WinKomm-Basis can be described as standard software, but this is a product-specific interface and system management software. Control processes for picking operations are not included in this software.

Standard software for controlling picking processes restricts the user per se to the processes and interfaces implemented in this software. If one were to try to integrate all conceivable processes into such software, an extremely extensive software suite with dozens of modules would no doubt be created. However, the implementation and maintenance of such software is usually very time-consuming, and this solution would simply be far too expensive for many simpler Pick-by-Light systems.

KBS therefore offers customer-specific interface and control software (our so-called application module) for each project. The advantage for the customer is that he is completely free to define his picking processes. Before creating an application module, we discuss the customer’s wishes and ideas with him in a performance specification discussion and, if necessary, contribute our experience as suggestions for improvement. This means that the customer receives lean, easily maintained and cost-effective interface and control software for his new Pick-by-Light system that is precisely tailored to his needs and processes.

Later process changes or function extensions are of course possible at any time.

What interfaces are there to Pick-by-Light?

The elementary interface for the operation of a pick-by-light system is without doubt the interface to a leading warehouse management, order management, production control or enterprise resource planning system. This interface is defined and designed on the basis of the possibilities available to the customer in cooperation with KBS on the basis of a performance specification discussion.

Further interfaces are possible, for example to

  • Material flow computer
  • Automatic picking systems
  • Assembly lines
  • Industrial trucks
  • Conveying systems
  • All types of capture devices such as scanners, RFID readers or cameras
  • Scales
  • (Label) printers
  • Info screens (Andon boards)
  • pp.

How does Pick-by-Light communicate with my WMS or ERP system?

There are a number of possible forms of communication such as TCP/IP stream sockets, communication via SAP Classic RFC or database tables, web services, file transfer or more. We answer this question together with you on the basis of the possibilities of your WMS or ERP system and the requirements for complexity, speed and security of the data exchange.

Which databases can Pick-by-Light communicate with?

A Pick-by-Light system can basically communicate with all SQL databases such as ORACLE, MS SQL or mySQL.

What do I need the WinKomm-Basis Device Manager for?

We recommend the use of the WinKomm-Basis Device Manager software for all our pick-by-light systems. The management, interpreter, diagnostic and monitoring functions that it features would otherwise have to be mapped in the higher-level control software. Under normal circumstances, this cannot be achieved with reasonable effort, which is why over 90% of our customers successfully use the WinKomm-Basis Device Manager software.

We see microsystems as an exception, where low demands are placed on communication speed and convenience as well as on system service. On request, we support communication on a low-level basis, which is naturally a bit more complex and much less convenient.

On which operating systems does Pick-by-Light run?

The WinKomm-Basis Device Manager software runs on current Windows operating systems as well as on Linux. The software also runs in a virtual environment.

A Windows operating system is currently required for application modules. If you also want to operate this on Linux, we will be happy to talk about your ideas.

Can I connect Pick-by-Light to my WMS or ERP system myself?

In principle, it is possible to implement the control of the picking processes as well as the interface to the principal system in WMS or ERP system.

For this case, KBS Industrieelektronik GmbH offers the possibility of a training course for communication with the WinKomm-Basis Device Manager software at our location in Freiburg.

In order to exploit the full potential of a pick-by-light system and to obtain reliable and secure communication and control software within a financially and temporally appropriate framework in time for the go-live of your system, we recommend the expertise of our IT specialists and at least the obtaining of an offer from our software architects.

Can I connect Pick-by-Light to a web shop software?

If the web shop software has an interface for exporting order data, it is possible to connect pick-by-light directly. In all likelihood, however, such an interface will only be a very general interface via web services.

Communication with a pick-by-light system is proprietary and differs depending on the manufacturer. In addition, the picking processes must be defined and controlled in the pick-by-light system, which such software usually does not offer due to the large number of different possibilities.

We can create software for you that can control the data exchange with the web shop software, prepare the data according to the planned picking processes and control the pick-by-light system.

Is there an API for the Pick-by-Light system?

The WinKomm-Basis Device Manager software provides two TCP/IP socket connections for communication with a principal system, one each for transmitting and receiving information. The exchange of information takes place via proprietary telegrams.

Contact our experts for a detailed description of this interface!

In addition to this interface for the transmission of display commands, there are other interfaces such as for the transmission of operating and error messages as well as of statistical data of the PTF devices connected in the system.

Are updates required? If so, how often?

WinKomm-Basis Device Manager software

Updates of the WinKomm-Basis Device Manager software are only required if

  • an error is found in the software. KBS will provide an updated version.
  • the version you are using does not yet support a newly added hardware variant. This may be the case, for example, in the case of system expansions.
  • you change the operating system. KBS maintains the software and adapts it in step with the latest operating system changes. Older versions usually cannot run on the latest operating system.

Please contact us before a planned operating system change to check compatibility and, if necessary, to provide an up-to-date version. In this way, hectic immediate measures and downtimes can be prevented.

Aplication software

Updates of application software created for a specific customer are required for the same reasons as above. Another reason can be a functional extension of the software desired by the customer, which we usually offer and implement according to effort.

 

Hardware technology

How are the shelf displays connected to one another?

The shelf displays on a rail of the PTF base profile are connected to each other via the PTF bus integrated in the rail. This allows a shelf display to be easily removed from one place and reused in another place. Gas-tight contact is established via the gold spring contacts on the rear of the shelf displays.

The rails are connected to one another and to the controller via PTF terminal connections with a special low-capacitance four-core cable.

Is Pick-by-Light also available wirelessly / via WLAN?

Data is usually transmitted between the controlling computer and the controllers via network cables, in small installations occasionally also via RS232 or RS485. For reasons of connection security, wired data transmission is always preferable to wireless transmission. Since a Pick-by-Light system also requires a power connection, the connection to a network socket of course is naturally obvious.

An exception is the use of pick-by-light (or better put-to-light) on mobile picking vehicles. Here, a power supply in the form of rechargeable batteries or batteries is carried on the vehicle, and the data connection to the controlling computer is established via a WLAN gateway.

A wireless connection integrated into individual shelf displays is currently not available.

Can I connect external buttons, sensors or signal generators?

Many shelf display types offer an IO connection as an option for the connection of external buttons or binary sensors.

Alternatively, our IO module can be used, which has four separately controllable inputs/outputs. This module is used, for example, to connect light columns or conveyor sensors.

How many shelf displays can be connected to a controller?

As a rule of thumb, you can connect about 100 shelf displays to a controller with an integrated power supply (e.g. PTF-SUB3). The limiting factor here is the output power of the power supply integrated in the controller (150 W). The power consumption of individual shelf displays varies, but is in the range of max. 1.5 W. The 150 W output power of the controller divided by the power consumption per shelf display (depending on the type about 1.5 W) results in the amount of 100 connectable shelf displays. In this specific case, please contact us for clarification of the details.

What happens if a shelf display no longer functions?

Each shelf display is equipped with an intelligent automatic diagnostic system. This automatically detects malfunctions and reports the error to the WinKomm-Basis Device Manager software. From there, error messages can be passed on to the principal system. It is thus possible, for example, to send information by e-mail to a service technician.

The communication status of a shelf display is signalled via a small status LED on the shelf display, so communication errors can also be detected directly at the place of use.

The most important errors are, for example, a defect in an LED of the eye-catching light or a failure of an element of the seven-segment display, which directly impairs the correct function of the shelf display. However, since these errors are detected and reported as described, it is possible to react directly. In the best case through a routine in the control software, which, in addition to reporting to a service department, can ensure that no new orders are transmitted to this shelf display.

In addition, each shelf display offers the possibility to query internal parameters such as

  • Total operating time
  • Total number of keystrokes
  • Current operating voltage
  • Current, lowest and highest temperature
  • Various telegram errors, if existent

A defective shelf display can be replaced by a new one in minutes by trained customer personnel. All that is then required is the assignment of the PTF address of the shelf display to the logical address in the WinKomm-Basis Device Manager software which, however, is just as easy to handle there via drag & drop. A service visit by a KBS technician is therefore not required.

However, if the internal power supply of a shelf display fails directly, then this shelf display can no longer report any errors. In this case, however, the WinKomm-Basis Device Manager software would detect the failure and also report it to the principal system.

What is a PTF address?

Each device in the PickTerm Flexible system (shelf displays, controllers, IO modules, etc.) has a unique PTF address (comparable to a MAC address). This identifier can be used to clearly identify each device within a system.

The PTF address can be read on the outside of the shelf displays and controllers in plain text and as a barcode. It is encoded as a 4-digit alphanumeric address, e.g. “B2bE”.

In the WinKomm-Basis Device Manager software, a table is kept in which a storage location identifier, i.e. an address that speaks for the customer’s system, can be assigned to these PTF addresses when commissioning a pick-by-light system. This can be an article name or usually a storage location designation, such as “Z04R01S12L02”. The advantage is that, despite the replacement of a component and the associated change of the PTF address, no changes in the customer’s system are required.

Which racks are suitable for a Pick-by-Light system?

The prerequisite is that suitable mounting surfaces for the mounting rails of the shelf displays must be provided on site. “Suitable” means that the mounting surface must be flat and torsionally rigid with a minimum height of 50 mm (for PTF systems) or 25 mm (for PTF-S systems).

Flow racks

The “classic” among the racks for a Pick-by-Light system are flow racks, with or without conveying equipment. It should be noted here that the shelf displays can be installed at an angle that is easy for the picker to read. As a rule, the racks are not per se prepared for this, but the rack manufacturers offer special “mounting brackets for Pick-by-Light”. Please check this and prepare a suitable mounting surface.

Shelf racks

Shelf racks are the number two among the most common rack systems. It should be noted here that the height of a shelf level is usually not as high as 50 mm, which contradicts our above-mentioned requirements. In addition, shelf racks usually do not have sufficient stability and strength for the mounting of additional elements. On request, we supply an aluminium L profile (e.g. 50 x 30 x 3 mm) and mount it on the upright elements of the shelf racks. This L-profile then forms the mounting surface for the mounting rails of the Pick-by-Light system.

Please note that the available access height is reduced by the difference between the level height of the shelf (e.g. 25 mm) and the construction height of the Pick-by-Light system (PTF: approx. 55 mm).

Round tube rack system

In provision for assemblies or in so-called “supermarkets”, round tube rack systems are often used, for which we can supply corresponding holding brackets.

Aluminium profile rail systems

Mounting on profile rail systems is also possible, e.g. with manufacturer-specific T-slot blocks.

Frame structures or suspension systems

In the case of articles that are stored on the floor, such as lattice boxes, or pallet storage spaces, the creation of a suitable mounting surface is somewhat more difficult. In principle, there is only a choice between a floor-mounted frame structure made, for example, of an aluminium profile rail system, or a ceiling suspension system of some kind.

Inexpensive frame structures are not usually very stable, and are exposed to the risk of damage by fork lift trucks when loading or emptying the storage locations. Separate floor-anchored protective devices can reduce this.

Ceiling suspension systems are less exposed to the above-mentioned risk, but significantly greater effort is usually required to install them.

A fundamental problem of such structures remains the question of the confirmation of active shelf displays, since frame structures or ceiling suspension systems are often installed a little higher in order to avoid damage as far as possible. However, not every picker is tall enough to be able to reach the confirmation button.

Heavy-duty, wide-span or pallet racks

On heavy-duty, wide-span or pallet racks, the strength and height of the mounting surface are usually not a problem. Only safety or manufacturer specifications that restrict changes to the rack elements (e.g. drilling of fastening holes for rivets) need to be observed. Ask the manufacturer of your rack system about this.

Finally, it should be repeated that suitable mounting surfaces must be provided on site (by you!). We can only share our experience with you.

Purchase of a Pick-by-Light system

What does KBS need in order to prepare a quotation for me?

The ideal request for a quotation includes a description of the desired range of functions of the pick-by-light system, as well as a detailed hardware and software specification:

Project description

The following question can help to define the functions of the desired pick-by-light system:
What is to be achieved with the new pick-by-light system, under what boundary conditions and how?

You can already define the type of order picking, e.g.:

  • Man to goods, stationary in a picking zone
    Then please tell us the number of employees and the number and sizes of the picking zones
  • Man to goods with picking vehicle
    Then please describe the design of the picking vehicle, such as the number and sizes of compartments per vehicle, the number of picking vehicles and the number of planned daily shifts

You can describe the type of article stocking (process source), e.g. in

  • Shelf racks
  • Flow racks with or without conveying equipment
  • Storage on the floor or on pallet storage places
    Then please describe the corresponding storage locations in as much detail as possible with the number of storage locations, compartment sizes, dimensions, number of shelves, number of levels, etc.

You can describe the target containers of the order picking (process destination), e.g.

  • Shipping boxes
  • Shipping containers on conveyors such as small load carriers, cardboard boxes, trays
  • Set box on picking vehicle
  • Storage shelf in sorting rack

Describe the order picking process as precisely as possible, e.g. on the basis of the following questions:

  • How is a picking order started?
    This can be done via a hand-operated or stationary scanner, via an operator terminal, or automatically after completion of the previous order
  • What should happen after the start of the order?
    Activate all active eye-catching lights (parallel picking) or switch them on one after the other (sequential picking)?
  • How is a picking order ended?
    Automatically by pressing the last active confirmation button or by a separate collective confirmation button?
  • Which special functions/special cases should be covered or solved, and how, e.g.: Quantity shortfalls, shipping container full, breakage message, replenishment request, batch change, operator login, etc. pp.

! And please do not forget to tell us the planned location of the new pick-by-light system as well as an approximate timeline for the implementation.

Hardware specification / quantity structure

The hardware specification includes at least:

  • Type of shelf display desired
  • Number of shelf displays
  • Number of picking zones
  • Total front length of the Pick-by-Light system
    Total front length := number of racks * rack width * number of levels

Software Specification / interface and process description

  • Where do the order data come from, i.e. what kind of WMS or ERP system transfers the order data to the pick-by-light system?
  • How are the order data transmitted to the pick-by-light system? Possible forms of data exchange are, for example, TCP/IP stream sockets, communication via SAP Classic RFC or database tables, web services, file transfer or more.
  • Which data should be fed back to the principal system and when?
  • Are there interfaces to other systems, such as to a material flow computer, a conveyor system, scales, (label) printers? If so, please describe the interfaces and their desired functions.

! It is also essential for the software specification to describe the order picking processes in as much detail as possible (see above), unless already included in the project description.

Such a specification requires a lot of work. But the more you invest in this, the faster, more detailed and precisely we can furnish you with our quotation!

Can I test a Pick-by-Light system at my premises?

We offer test or pilot systems in a small version for a small share in the costs of non-reusable components (installation material, etc.). To control such systems, we provide software that maps the basic order picking processes without connection to a host system (i.e. stand-alone) and thus enables you to get to know how to work with pick-by-light.

How long are the delivery times for a Pick-by-Light system?

In normal times, the hardware for a pick-by-light system of a normal size is available in about 4‑8 weeks. The delivery times for customer-specific application software depend on how fast the performance specification is created in cooperation with the customer and, of course, on the complexity of the order picking processes that are implemented in the software. As a guideline, you can assume a duration of about 12-16 weeks.

How long does it take to implement a Pick-by-Light system?

The answer is partly identical to the answer to the question about delivery times. However, the implementation also includes the time until the final specification of the system, the discussion about the best processes, the preparation and review of the quotation, the process of selecting the best supplier and the time until the order is placed. In addition, there are additional times for commissioning at the customer’s site, possible test operation or validation.

How long does a Pick-by-Light system last?

This of course depends on the type of use and handling of the system. However, the industrial design and the almost indestructible aluminium housing of our shelf displays ensure the best conditions for a long-term service life of our pick-by-light systems.

Some customers have been operating our systems for about 20 years. Of course, there are usually changes (such as changes to the processes, updates to the software/operating systems) and extensions, but the originally delivered hardware is still in use without faults.

And of course we also supply spare parts!

How quickly does a Pick-by-Light system pay for itself?

There is no general answer to this question, as it depends on too many factors. However, if you know the processes and can financially quantify the benefits of pick-by-light, you can get a rough estimate.

The two most important factors in the savings thanks to a pick-by-light system are the increase in speed and quality of the order picking processes.

  • Faster order picking processes and lower qualification requirements for personnel reduce personnel costs.
  • The higher order picking quality (reduction of errors) reduces the costs for returns (postage, reprocessing, storage, re-dispatch), rework or even assembly interruptions.

Soft factors such as increased customer satisfaction or satisfied and motivated employees round off the success, but do not make a fundamental contribution to the amortisation result.

In fact, another aspect complicates this calculation: The implementation of a pick-by-light system is very often accompanied by changes to the preceding or subsequent processes, which significantly increase the overall performance of the implementation, but are not necessarily attributable to the costs of the pick-by-light system.

Based on actual projects, we have been able to calculate amortisation periods of less than one year to three years.

Operation of a Pick-by-Light system

Does KBS offer maintenance contracts for the Pick-by-Light system?

KBS offers maintenance contracts in the form of telephone availability (service hotline) up to 24/7, but exclusively for systems in which an application module from our company is in use.

Maintenance contracts for the hardware portion of a Pick-by-Light system from our company are not required. The sophisticated automatic fault diagnosis and the simplicity of component replacement in the event of a fault enable customer personnel to solve over 99% of all problems themselves. That is, if any occur at all.

Can I exchange a shelf display myself?

A defective shelf display can be replaced by a new one in minutes by trained customer personnel. This training takes place during the installation of the pick-by-light system.

All that is then required is the assignment of the PTF address of the shelf display to the logical address in the WinKomm-Basis Device Manager software which, however, is just as easy to handle there via drag & drop.

A service visit by a KBS technician is therefore not required.

Can I extend the Pick-by-Light system myself?

If the extension only includes additional shelf displays (possibly with controllers) and does not entail any changes to the order picking processes, you can request the required hardware, order it and carry out the installation yourself. With the (automatic) registration of the new components, they are also immediately ready for operation.

What happens if the order picking processes change?

If order picking processes are to be changed or new processes are to be added, the control software (the application module) must be adapted. We’ll be glad to do that for you. You describe the desired changes and we will prepare a suitable quotation for you.

KBS Industrieelektronik GmbH

Who are KBS Industrieelektronik GmbH?

KBS Industrieelektronik GmbH, based in Freiburg, develops, manufactures and installs customer-specific pick-by-light systems for paperless picking worldwide. The hardware and software development takes place in-house.

Our solutions contribute to an increase in productivity in goods picking or material provision, to a reduction in error rates, and to a faster and more transparent handling of work processes. For the existing standard assemblies we implement individual solutions for every requirement, every industry and every assortment.

Our customers include all well-known logistics companies, almost all European car manufacturers and their suppliers, and of course dozens of mail order, publishing, pharmaceutical and medical technology companies as well as manufacturing companies from all conceivable industries.

Does KBS have a Code of Conduct /CoC?

The management of KBS Industrieelektronik GmbH has laid down a code of conduct and put it into force. This describes KBS’s goal to make all business activities ethically flawless and thus to assume responsibility for society in general (Corporate Social Responsibility CSR).

The Code of Conduct covers topics such as dealing with discrimination and harassment, preserving and protecting the environment and resources, occupational health and safety, information and data protection, dealing with corruption and bribery and, of course, the obligation to comply with all legal regulations, rules and standards.

The Code of Conduct can be viewed by everyone on our website.

Where does KBS manufacture its components?

The hardware for our pick-by-light systems such as shelf displays, controllers, etc. are developed and manufactured at the company headquarters in Freiburg im Breisgau. The assembly and final testing of all components is carried out in-house. Where necessary, local suppliers are involved, with whom KBS maintains a long-standing partnership. This keeps the quality and delivery reliability high and the distances short to protect the environment.

Is KBS certified?

KBS Industrieelektronik GmbH operates a certified quality management system according to ISO 9001:2015

Why choose Pick-by-Light systems from KBS?

You buy from experts

Pick-by-light systems are not a by-product for us, but our core competence. Development, production and implementation are all in one hand with us as a manufacturer.

The experience of several thousand systems installed worldwide and the exceptionally high quality of our products consolidate our role as Europe’s leading supplier.

The lively exchange of information with our customers and a highly motivated, excellently trained development team ensure that our systems are always state-of-the-art or even a little further.

You get the optimal solution for you

Our experienced intralogistics experts are at your disposal for planning and consulting. We recommend the best solution for you from our extensive hardware range and our software specialists program an interface and process control program specially tailored to your application.

The product quality is unique

The design of our shelf displays is constantly being optimised and is optimally tailored to the requirements and needs of modern high-performance order picking systems and their operators.

We use only high-quality components, where possible from German manufacturers. In this way, we ensure the special quality, robustness and longevity of your system.

Quite a few of our Pick-by-Light systems have now been in operation for almost 20 years, some of them in multi-shift operation. As a satisfied customer said: “The Pick-by-Light system? I had completely forgotten about it, as smoothly as it runs…”

We want even more

Resting on our laurels with a successful product has never been our strength. With their eyes and ears on the market and at the customers, and equipped with a certain play instinct, our team of logistics experts and developers like to experiment with the latest technologies available on the market. Not infrequently, a successful product emerges again, like the most recent one: a zone display with a colour graphic touch screen, on which, for example, scroll-down menus or soft keys can be displayed. With these features, we can save our customers a lot of otherwise required terminals.

There´s intelligence in every device

Each shelf display and each controller is equipped with an intelligent automatic diagnostic system. This automatically detects malfunctions and reports them immediately to the WinKomm-Basis Device Manager software.

Handling is extremely easy

The installation of a Pick-by-Light system from KBS involves only a few simple procedures:

  • Mounting of the PTF base profile on the rack surface by means of rivets or screws
  • Electrical wiring of the system (insertion of the bus system in the base profile and connection of the rails to a controller)
  • Simple clipping-on of the shelf displays at the desired location. The shelf displays contact the bus system and register with the WinKomm-Basis Device Manager software via the controller.

You remain flexible

Our Pick-by-Light systems are future-proof. Adjustments to your warehouse layout or processes are possible at any time, even after commissioning. That is standard for us.

You can usually carry out changes to the hardware, such as additional racks, or changes to the zones yourself, and we can of course advise and support you on request.

Changes to your order picking processes will be unavoidable. Here, too, we will assist you by adapting the application module cost-effectively according to your desired changes.

You can rely on us

“That part doesn’t exist anymore.” You will certainly not hear this sentence from us for the next few years. We guarantee that we will be able to deliver replacement devices or compatible successor devices for at least 10 years.

We like to separate

In our shelf displays, the eye-catching light and the confirmation button are two different components that are also spatially separated from each other.

This enables the extraordinary 3D shape of the eye-catching light and thus its excellent visibility from the side. The eye-catching light is not subject to mechanical wear.

The confirmation button itself is designed as a particularly robust mechanical long-travel key with an MTBF of 10 million actuations.

We think about the environment

The primary material of our components, i.e. shelf displays, carrier and cover profiles, is aluminium. Aluminium’s capability to withstand extreme mechanical loads and its high porosity resistance guarantees a practically “unbreakable” system.

And at the end of their lives, all aluminium parts (housing and profiles) can all be reused, making the majority of the system recyclable.

We offer the service that you want

In addition to our assembly and commissioning services, we offer you services tailored to your needs, such as:

  • Training for system operators and maintenance personnel
  • Technical customer service
  • Mobile customer service for quick on-site assistance (if ever required)
  • Contractually agreed service standby up to 24/7
  • Fast spare parts and repair service for all devices supplied

If your question is not answered here, please use our contact form or call us. We appreciate your interest and will get back to you as soon as possible to answer your question.